Automatic Transmission Fluid - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
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post #1 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Automatic Transmission Fluid

Good day

After reading the recent posts about 30K & 60K service I saw a pattern about the ATF.

I purchased my Sienna Limited 5/20/06. June of 2007 I had 24K of the van and drained some fluid from the transmission. Sent it out for analysis. My report stated my fluid was showing alot of wear and a suggestion to change the fluid. On 6/28/07 I drained 4 qts and added 4 quarts. It drove and shifted much smoother. I did it again 5k later, just for good measure. Well it is 2/09 and I have 53k on the van. I do the same procedure again and the results are the same. Smooth shifts and smoother ride. ATF analysis shows fluid at almost same level of wear and a recommendation to replace the fluid.

When I mean smooth, it feels like new, shifts are perfect and the van seems quieter.

It is a simple procedure that may insure a longer life transmission. Based on the atf analysis I feel Toyota's recommendation in my case is a bad idea.

Now that Mobil1 Synthetic ATF is Toyota Type IV rated it is cheaper and more available then traveling to the dealer.

My two cents....

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post #2 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 01:54 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

Although I planned to do it the first time at 15k-20k on the van, I didn't get to it until 40k. I drained fluid from the pan only, which is easy 'cause they have a drain plug, and added the same amount. Since there is no filter, it is easier for me to do this (and cheaper), instead of a full transmission flush and fill. My plan is to do this every 30k probably, but I may reduce that based on your results. I have never done an analysis on the ATF, only the engine oil. I use Amsoil Universal ATF, and have been happy with the shifting after the fluid change.

-Joe
2005 Sienna LE
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post #3 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 03:19 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

Tony,

Thanks for the info. I use Mobil1 ATF in my Contour and I really like it.
Nice to know that I can use it in the van too. Our van is at 37k and still shifts like butter. I can't tell when the shifts happen.

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post #4 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 02:41 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

My '06 still shifts super smoothly and quietly at the 30K mark with its original fluid. I have never towed with our van, but I have loaded it down to close to weight ratings for many long trips and I drive with a lead foot.
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post #5 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 02:58 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

Whoops -- I should mention that I have a front-wheel drive van.
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post #6 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 04:10 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

Use only Toyota Type T fluid or Mobile 3309 as per manual. Don't try anything else and look at the back of the owner's manual for transmission fluid specifications. I do drain & fill once at 30K and replace the entire fluid by tapping the Cooler line at 60K. By doing this one can replace the ATF fluid which remains in the torque converter.

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post #7 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 09:57 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

Toyota can't force you to use a specific fluid, only that it meets the specifications. Any ATF that meets the Toyota T-IV specification is fine to use in your van. The Amsoil Universal ATF, and I'm sure the Mobil1 ATF, meets this.

-Joe
2005 Sienna LE
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post #8 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 10:36 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

I have a question about ATF fluid. Don't you need to use a machine to exchange the fluid or can you just drain and fill? how is the atf fluid swap proceedure done?
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post #9 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 03:32 AM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

What do you guys use to collect the used fluid in? Do you collect it in the same pan that you use for oil changes? For me that would make it dificult to see how much drained out... My oil change pan is solid black plastic..

Approx. How much comes out with just a drain of the transmission pan?

I assume you refill from the tube?
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post #10 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

My method
Hot engine
Level Ground
Pull the plug and I allow to drain for up to 30 minutes
Install the plug
I dump in 2 qts Mobil 1 ATF
Crank the van
I add till full
Mine always ends up at 4 qts
Full at the hot mark, with the temp gauge in the usual hot idle temp, about half way
I cycle through the gears with the selector, while sitting still, then check again.

About half way throught the drain, I take an oil sample container and catch about 6 ounces to send off to the lab.
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post #11 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 11:49 AM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

Thanks. Would be nice if it's possible next time you do a atf exchange/drain..to document them with photos for some who are first time diy'ers on the atf. just an idea..
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post #12 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 12:07 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

I think I got about 4 quarts out as well, leaving it to drain for a bit. Pictures are not of much value, unless you can't find the drain plug. Once you know which one is the oil plug and which is the tranny plug, you're good to go. A full - or close to full - flush can be done, but it's a little more involved, and I don't want to bother with it, and would rather just take it to a shop to do it for me. I even bring them my fluid, and they'll do it for $50. I've had this done on other vehicles, but not the Sienna, since I plan to just change the 4 quarts on regular intervals.

-Joe
2005 Sienna LE
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post #13 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 01:10 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

My 08 sienna is not a year old yet but 25k miles.. I think I'm gonna do a drain soon. Anyone know how much this ATF costs?

I think this is a good topic. didn't recall seeing such a thread on siennaclub back then about ATFs.
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post #14 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 03:52 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffG
What do you guys use to collect the used fluid in? Do you collect it in the same pan that you use for oil changes? For me that would make it dificult to see how much drained out... My oil change pan is solid black plastic..

Approx. How much comes out with just a drain of the transmission pan?

I assume you refill from the tube?
Here is what I have done when changing ATF-

I empty my oil drain pan and drain the atf into that.

I then drain the pan into an empty plastic gallon milk jug.

I take another (clean) empty milk jug and fill it with new atf to the same level as the jug with the old fluid in it.

Then fill the tranny with the new fluid.

Using a funnel with a very small opening in the end really helps getting the new fluid in, as you fill through the dipstick tube.

Hope this helps.
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post #15 of 146 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 09:55 PM
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Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid

That's a good tip Dave!

-Joe
2005 Sienna LE
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